General Question

Eggie's avatar

Can everybody quit smoking cold turkey?

Asked by Eggie (5069 points ) March 22nd, 2014

I know that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the world and people have a really tough time stopping smoking. On the other hand some people testify that they have stopped smoking cold turkey without any effort. What is the factor for the addiction? Is it the amount of time that the person smokes? Is it a biological thing where it only works for some people? Or is it a mind thing; simply a bad habit that people don’t have the will power to stop?

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14 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

The easiest way to quit <anything> is never to start,

But any addiction – cigarettes, alcohol, drug, sex, gambling eating – is subject to a personal decision and will power. The problem is that most people

a) don’t recognize that they have the addiction, and
b) don’t have the will power to stop it.

The whole reason for Narconon or Al Anon is to give people the essential mental tools to gain the willpower to stop their addiction.

Mind over matter.

Pachy's avatar

I was a heavy smoker in my late teens through 20s and quit cold turkey at around 29. A year earlier I had been advised by my doctor to stop smoking for a specific medical reason, but that’s not mainly why I did it. I quit because I wanted to. I had reached the point where I could no longer stand the smell of stale tobacco on my face and hands!

Incidentally, at the same time I also stopped biting my nails, which I had done since I was a child.

gailcalled's avatar

I did but I csn’t speak for anyone else. Two seconds after the oncologist called to tell me the result of a bioposy. it was really easy. I was neither a lifelong nor a heavy smoker, however.

GloPro's avatar

@elbanditoroso I also thought addiction was willpower until I became a drug abuse counselor for 9 months. Without going into detail I can tell you that your opinion is naive and incorrect. I chose rehab for my internship because I don’t have an addictive personality and thought I could teach that to others. I chose to walk away from psychology all together after my experience.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I quit cold turkey in my mid 20’s and while it was hard anyone can do it. The initial withdrawal lasts about 2 weeks where you get mood swings and feel generally on edge. After that you get occasional cravings that come out of nowhere for several months. Those pass and only last like an hour or so though. There is no “psychological” addiction like they say. That is absolute horse-shit. It’s like 98% physical. There is no excuse not to quit, suck it up and do it.

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bolwerk's avatar

I quit smoking with The EasyWay to Quit Smoking. It’s not quit a cold turkey method, but it is probably one of the easiest ways to quit – just read the book and it sort of deconstructs why you smoke. The success rate is supposed to be better than 50%. IMHO it’s better than cold turkey. You get the benefits of quitting smoking without the anxiety of worrying about it. The book is kind of long, but probably readable in a weekend.

And to answer your question, especially “I know that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the world and people have a really tough time stopping smoking”: that’s actually a misconception. Yes, nicotine is very habit-forming, but it’s not especially addictive. You don’t really develop a physical dependency on it the way alcoholics do with alcohol or heroin or meth addicts do. The difficulty people have quitting smoking is largely in their heads. Now, I don’t want to downplay that, but it is useful information when trying to quit: you won’t feel any meaningful physical pain if you quit smoking.

El_Cadejo's avatar

“The easiest way to quit <anything> is never to start”
I’ve always hated that saying. It’s not quitting if one never started something.

bolwerk's avatar

@uberbatman: it’s a platitude.

flo's avatar

My guess is everyone can stop cold turkey they just have to want to. Just ask them what would help them stop, and it if they say x or y or z.that means they can. If they say nothing can help them stop then they really don’t want to stop.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I quit after 17 years using the “Easy Way,” too, which is a cold turkey approach. And I agree with @bolwerk , I believe that we are so convinced that quitting is difficult and painful that it becomes difficult and painful, when it’s really not. It’s very much a mental addiction. I don’t think it’s about willpower, I think it’s about understanding ourselves and why we cling to this particular addiction.

cheebdragon's avatar

OMG! Why has no one thought of this before?!?!? Just quit completely all at once? Pure brilliance!!!!!!~

Very few smokers actually want to be smokers, kid. There are a lot of different reasons why some people need to smoke and why others can just drop it effortlessly. Everyone is different, what works for some doesn’t work for others, and there is no secret trick to life. Instead of insulting smokers with such an inane question, just be thankful to all of them for choosing to kill themselves slowly instead of trying to kill you. Smoking kills, but it also saves so many lives on a daily basis, trust me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I stop cold turkey about three times a year.

It’s very stressful quitting, frankly just thinking about stopping makes me clench up and want one. It’s much easier to slow your intake over a week or two then quit, for me anyway.

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